The company now estimated it would publish its group audited financial statements for 2017 and 2018 by the middle of April 2019. Photo: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – International retail holding company Steinhoff said on Thursday a forensic investigation being undertaken by audit firm PwC after an accounting scandal last year was substantially complete, but more time was needed to finalise some issues.

Steinhoff is still grappling with the fallout after admitting to accounting irregularities a year ago, which saw its former chief executive Markus Jooste step down in disgrace.

In addition to the forensic probe, the company has simultaneously been involved in a financial restructuring process involving a diverse group of financial creditors while continuing to keep global operations running across more than 30 countries.

"The forensic investigation being undertaken by PwC has progressed well. The investigative process has been significantly more complex than initially anticipated, with multiple work streams operating across a number of jurisdictions," it said on Thursday.

"The investigation is substantially complete but more time is required to finalise a number of follow up work streams. The investigation is now expected to be complete by the end of February 2019, with the final report being available to the company shortly thereafter."

It said the full implications of the accumulated findings of the PwC report on the group’s 2017 and 2018 financial statements were still being analysed to ensure that the correct accounting treatment and related disclosures were adopted. 

"Unfortunately, despite significant efforts being exerted by all parties, it is now clear that the timeline for completing the group consolidated financial reporting and audit process has shifted and it will not be possible for all the work required to be finalised within the original timeframe," it said.

The company now estimated it would publish its group audited financial statements for 2017 and 2018 by the middle of April 2019. The 2017 and 2018 financial statements for Steinhoff Investment Holdings Ltd would be released shortly thereafter.

African News Agency (ANA)